Vesterled’s creation was prompted by the expansion of Europe’s gas market. Norwegian gas from the Statpipe and Oseberg Gas Transport pipelines, and from some smaller fields, goes to Heimdal and on through Vesterled. This system accordingly provides a new link for in the Norwegian gas network, with greater flexibility and opportunities for exports to the UK.
In the same way, the Frigg UK pipeline was gradually tied back to a number of fields in the British sector. This system carries gas from Piper, Tartan, Galley, Bruce, Buzzard and Alwyn. As Frigg production declined, the Frigg UK Pipeline acquired the capacity to transport output from other fields.
The initiative for creating Vesterled was taken by the Oseberg licensees, who formed a joint venture for this purpose. Norsk Hydro headed the project, and took over from Elf as Heimdal operator in 1998 with plans to exploit the field installations as a transport hub and processing facility for other developments.
A plan for installation and operation (PIO) for Vesterled was submitted to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in December 1999. It proposed the installation of a 45-kilometre pipeline from the Heimdal Riser platform, tied into the Frigg Norwegian Pipeline (FNP) about 50 kilometres from the Frigg field in the direction of Scotland. Corrosion meant that the FNP had recently had to be operated at a reduced pressure of 128 barg, which cut its capacity. But locating the tie-in from Heimdal beyond the site of the damage restored transport to the full pressure of 152 barg1. The Oseberg Gas Transport (OGT) pipeline to Heimdal became operational in 2000 to transport gas from fields tied into Oseberg. A spur from Statpipe already connected with Heimdal.
Both Vesterled and the Frigg UK pipeline originally passed through the manifold compression platform (MCP-01), but bypasses around this installation were installed in the summer of 2005. A bypass around Frigg was also laid the following summer.
The PIO also embraced changes to the FNP operatorship and continued operation of this pipeline system. When Gassled was created, Vesterled became part of this joint venture to own the Norwegian gas transport system. Gassco became operator, and appointed Total E&P UK in turn as its technical service provider.Merger makes Total a major French companyFrøy shut in